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    05 January 2006

    A Troubling Week for Hopes of Mideast Peace

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    "Those who want to stop the progress of freedom are becoming more and more marginalized"

    - Yesterday they killed 40, today they killed 80 130 including 5 US soldiers. Yesterday guerrilas took out 20 of 60 fuel tankers in a convoy north of Baghdad. (see SWARM by John Robb) Sounds like the insurgents just bitch slapped my President.

    What's Col. Lang think?
    This begins to sound like an answer to the question I posed yesterday as to whether or not the insurgents and their supporters were going to accept a negotiated but subordinate role in the government being created by the Shia and Kurd winners of last month's election. I hear people saying things like, "Well, they will just have to GET OVER IT and learn to live with minority status.." Sorry, but they have another option and that is to continue to wage a terrorist war against us and the Iraqi government in the belief/hope that eventually something will change in the situation and a-the country will break up and they achieve independence in the Sunni Arab heartland north and west of Baghdad or b- they can dominate the same area with lines of communication running out of the region into Sunni run countries. In either case they will, by now, believe that eventually we will leave and that our departure will "level the playing field." If the United States leaves a smallish (less than 100K) force in garrisons in country and increases the number and intensity of TACAIR strikes in support of government forces this will have only a moderate effect on the scenario described above because 1-Our garrisons will become more and more occupied with securing themselves and the embassy and 2- TACAIR in the hands of the Iraqi forces will be a double edged sword, protecting those forces and at the same time adding to the recruiting efforts of the insurgents.

    - Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the insurgency made its presence known in a Central Afghan town by injuring or killing dozens in a suicide attack. Present in the town at the time was U.S. Ambassador Ronald E. Neumann and other American officials.

    - Recent developments surrounding Israeli PM Ariel Sharon leave the region and the world reexamine the peace process in the troubled region of Palestine. Should the PM fail to recover, will his new so-called centrist party collapse? If it does or if the exit of Sharon should tip the government in either direction, what will happen? I doubt that the Labor Party will be able to retake the government, either will Sharon's centrist party. This leaves right-wing Likud and the leadership of Binyamin Netanyahu. It would seem this would be a good thing for a President like Bush, but Netanyahu may be a little to far to theright, and his policies may (IMO they would) upset the limited progress on the conflict. Bush just lost a major ally in the Middle East.

    More analysis here

    - This is an interesting report from a local news outfit on the Betrayal of several Marines in Iraq; deaths involved.
    The truth can be found in a classified report containing a completed investigation of the fatal events last August, reported NewsChannel5's Adam Shapiro.

    Shapiro spent two weeks conducting numerous conversations with families of the Marines who were killed, as well as ranking officers from the 3rd Battalion 25th Marines.

    The families of those who died are being told that on Aug. 1, six Marine snipers from the 3/25 were killed, and it appears they were set up and ambushed.

    Two days later, 14 Marines from the 3/25 were sent to arrest the insurgents who killed the snipers, but their vehicle was blown up, killing all of them.

    It now appears that they also may have been set up.

    Statements from the Marines indicate as much, and a father of one of the slain Marines says that's the story he's being told by Marines who were there.

    Paul Schroeder will never forget that awful first week in August when his 23-year-old son, Lance Cpl. Augie Schroeder, died.

    Paul Schroeder said his son's fellow 3/25 Marines told him something that the military never told him, how Augie was killed Aug. 3 while trying to capture the Iraqi insurgents who had killed the snipers.

    "They were set up. Someone knew where they would be, how they would be, and they went after them," said Paul Schroeder.

    The six Marine snipers were killed in a firefight just outside of Hadithah. The Marines said they were on an intelligence-gathering mission, but family of the fallen and Schroeder say insurgents may have infiltrated Iraqi security and betrayed the Marines.

    "What we have heard from Marines is that the six snipers who were killed on Aug. 1 were set up," said Schroeder.

    Posted by Geoff

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